At Least 12 Killed, Nine Injured in Southern Philippines Ambush

Suspected Muslim rebels ambushed a vehicle in the southern Philippines on Thursday, killing 12 people and injuring nine, the military said.

Lt. Col. Daniel Lucero, spokesman of the military's Southern Command, said Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels were suspected in the attack in Baliguian in Zamboanga del Norte province on Mindanao island.

Lucero said the attack took place around 3:10 p.m., and that the vehicle belonged to the Toronto Venture Inc., a Canadian company. All the victims were Filipinos, he said. It was not immediately known what kind of company it was.

The rebels could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Muslim insurgency began three decades ago. Peace talks were suspended in October but are expected to resume next month in Malaysia.

Some military and government officials have accused the MILF of supporting the terrorist activities of the smaller but more violent Muslim extremist group, Abu Sayyaf. MILF leaders have denied any links.

Earlier this year, the United States sent more than 1,000 soldiers for a joint U.S.-Philippine anti-terrorism training exercise in the southern Philippines. It has been credited with helping Filipino troops break up the Abu Sayyaf and track down key leaders.